Skip to comments.Apostles of Divine Mercy
Posted on 04/18/2006 9:46:26 PM PDT by Coleus
|Apostles of Divine Mercy|
Divine Mercy, a special legacy of Pope John Paul II, has been embraced by Pope Benedict XVI
Among the many legacies of Pope John Paul II, his legacy of Divine Mercy stands out as special; only in this legacy does he specifically say that he passes on the message of Divine Mercy to the whole world as the message for the third millennium:
Sister Faustinas canonization has a particular eloquence. By this act I intend to pass this message on to the new millennium. I pass it on to all people, so that they will learn to know even better the true face of God and the true face of their brethren (Divine Mercy Sunday, April 30, 2000). A year later, another expression of John Paul IIs legacy of Divine Mercy was given at his Regina Caeli talk following the Mass of Divine Mercy Sunday (April 22, 2001) honoring the anniversary of the canonization of St. Faustina. Again he passes on the message of hope to the third millennium:
Filled with joy we present ourselves before the Risen One today and say with faith: Jesus, I trust in you! May this confession full of love strengthen everyone on the path of daily life and encourage them to undertake works of mercy for their brothers and sisters. May this be a message of hope for the entire new millennium.
The pope then challenges us to collaborate with the plan of Divine Mercy for the whole world: Now with the recitation of the antiphon Regina Caeli, we ask Mary to enable us to experience the deep joy of the Resurrection and to collaborate with dedication in the universal plan of Divine Mercy. At the departure ceremony of his weekend visit to Krakow for the dedication of the Basilica of the Divine Mercy (Aug. 19, 2002), John Paul II again repeated his unique legacy of Divine Mercy to the third millennium:
God is rich in mercy. These are the words that sum up this visit. We have heard them as a call to the Church in Poland in the new millennium. I pray that my compatriots will welcome with open hearts this message of mercy and will succeed in carrying it to wherever men and women are in need of the light of hope I repeat before Merciful Jesus: Jesus, I trust in you! May these heartfelt words bring comfort to future generations in the new millennium. May God who is rich in mercy bless you!
In his final Divine Mercy Sunday message, read posthumously, he summarized his message of Divine Mercy and passed it on to us as a legacy: Jesus, I trust in you! Have mercy on us and the whole world! Amen! (Divine Mercy Sunday, April 3, 2005). These closing words of Pope John Paul II, written prior to his death, were read by Archbishop Leonardo Sandri, assistant papal secretary of state, following the Mass for the eternal repose of John Paul II.
After the death of John Paul II, the first to take up the challenge to be an apostle of Divine Mercy was Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger. Let us look to the example of Cardinal Ratzinger, now Pope Benedict XVI, and how he declared himself to be an apostle of Divine Mercy. In his homily at the popes funeral Mass last April 8, before millions gathered for the funeral and uncounted millions more around the world watching the TV coverage, Cardinal Ratzinger concluded his powerful homily by describing John Paul IIs legacy of Divine Mercy:
He interpreted for us the paschal mystery as a mystery of Divine Mercy. In his last book, he wrote: The limit imposed upon evil is ultimately Divine Mercy (Memory and Identity, p. 55). And reflecting on the assassination attempt, he said: In sacrificing himself for us all, Christ gave a new meaning to suffering, opening up a new dimension, a new order: the order of love It is this suffering which burns and consumes evil with the flame of love and draws forth even from sin a great flowering of good. Impelled by this vision, the pope suffered and loved in communion with Christ, and that is why the message of his suffering and his silence proved so eloquent and so fruitful.
Divine Mercy: the Holy Father found the purest reflection of Gods mercy in the Mother of God. He, who at an early age had lost his own mother, loved his divine mother all the more. He heard the words of the crucified Lord as addressed personally to him: Behold your Mother. And from the mother he learned to conform himself to Christ [emphasis added]. Then, in his first address as Pope Benedict XVI, in the morning after his election last April 20, he spoke to the cardinals who elected him. He began his address with John Paul IIs legacy of Divine Mercy in his own life:
May grace and peace be multiplied to all of you (cf. 2 Peter 1:2)! In these hours, two contrasting sentiments coexist in my spirit. On the one hand, a sense of inadequacy and of human anxiety before the universal Church, because of the responsibility that was entrusted to me yesterday as successor of the Apostle Peter in this See of Rome. On the other hand, I feel very intensely in myself a profound gratitude to God who as we sing in the liturgy does not abandon his flock, but leads it through the times, under the guidance of those whom he himself has chosen as vicars of his Son and has constituted pastors (cf. Preface of the Apostles, 1). Beloved, this profound gratitude for a gift of the Divine Mercy prevails in my heart despite everything. And I consider it in fact as a special grace obtained for me by my venerable predecessor, John Paul II [emphasis added].
In Pope Benedict XVI we have a pope who is of one heart and one mind with John Paul II. I am looking forward to Pope Benedicts visit to Poland, scheduled for May 25 to 28. I am especially looking forward to any statement he may make about Divine Mercy! Pope John Paul II made clear and repeated challenges to you and me to be apostles of Divine Mercy. An apostle is one who is sent. John Paul has sent us out with a commission to witness to the Lords mercy by our lives and by our proclamation of the Lords mercy. How can you and I do all of this? By doing what Jesus taught us in his prayer: Ask for and receive our daily bread, and forgive, which is the first act of mercy.
Basilian Father George W. Kosicki has written extensively on Divine Mercy. This article was adapted, with permission, from his forthcoming book, Divine Mercy: The Unique Legacy of John Paul the Great. For information about other books by Father Kosicki or Divine Mercy, write the Marian Helpers Center, Eden Hill, Stockbridge, MA 01263, call 1-800-462-7426 for a catalog, or visit online www.marian.org or www.thedivinemercy.org . Father Kosicki is a member of Divine Mercy Council 11112 in Gurnee, Ill.